China - Country Commercial Guide
Environmental Technology

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2022-01-04

China accounts for 21% of the world’s population but only possesses 6% of the world’s freshwater. Rapid urbanization and industrialization have created enormous challenges to China’s water quantity and quality. For this reason, there is substantial demand in China for recycling water technology.

Municipal Wastewater Treatment

According to the China National Bureau of Statistics, from 2015 to 2020, China invested $81.6 billion in its municipal wastewater system, including sewage pipeline construction and maintenance, new treatment facilities, rainwater-sewage diversion systems, sludge mitigation, reclaimed water, and initial rainfall treatment. As of January 2020, China’s 10,113 water treatment plants treat wastewater for 95% of municipalities and 30% of rural areas. In 2020, 39,000 new wastewater treatment facilities were set up.  China plans to build or renovate 80,000 km of sewage collection pipeline networks and increase sewage treatment capacity by 20 million cubic meter/day between 2021-2025. In the next few years, China’s strong policy support and investment focus will present opportunities in sewage pipeline maintenance, black and odorous water bodies treatment, and wastewater treatment facilities construction in 2nd and 3rd tier cities.

China Municipal Wastewater Discharge and Treatment Chart 2011 - 2020
China Municipal Wastewater Discharge and Treatment Chart 2011 - 2020

Source: China Ministry of Ecology and Environment

Industrial Wastewater Treatment

China discharged 55.7 billion cubic meters of wastewater in 2020, 26% of which originated from industrial sources. The industrial wastewater market in China will reach $19.4 billion by 2025. As part of China’s development strategy to transform into a cleaner and more sustainable economy, the country plans to invest $50 billion into various heavy polluting industries, including textiles, printing, steel production, oil and gas extraction, coal mining, and pharmaceutical production.

Sludge Treatment

China’s sludge volume could reach 90 million tons by 2025, according to China’s National Development of Reform and Commission. In 2015, China released its Water Action Plan, which requires 90% of cities to improve their sludge treatment capacity by the end of 2023. Experts estimate that between 2021 and 2025, China will invest around $8 billion to construct and install new sludge processing facilities. China’s sludge has low organic matter but possesses high silt and heavy metal content levels. The areas with the best market potential in this sub-sector include technologies for reducing water content in sludge, environment-friendly chemicals, high automation blending and injection equipment, and incineration technologies that are cost-effective and energy-efficient. 

Current Sludge Application in China.png
Current Sludge Application in China

Source: Overview of China Sludge Treatment Market in 2019

Engineering and Services

China’s environmental engineering and services sector will benefit from rising government spending to tackle worsening pollution issues. China’s total annual income for environmental services has grown rapidly, from around $86 billion in 2016 to more than $127 billion in 2019. Environmental engineering and services mainly include technology research and development services, consulting services, engineering and construction services, pollution facilities operation services, environmental trade and finance, environmental education, and training.

Trade Events

  • IE Expo China-Shanghai
  • The China International Environmental Protection Exhibition & Conference-Beijing